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Build distinctiveness, consistently: Aditya Ruia of Beco

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Team YS ( )

A growing number of new brands are being launched each day due to global innovation. While some businesses are able to stick with potential consumers and make their mark, others struggle. In order to succeed, what is the formula? Brand building is the answer, as it communicates the authenticity, idea, and emotion of a brand. A panel discussion on ‘Standing out with innovation and brand-building’ was held on Day 2 of TechSparks 2022 to understand what attracts people to certain brands and what makes them stand out.

The panel featured Arshya Lakshman, Director – Innovation, Lowe’s India; Sneh Jain, Co-founder, The Baker’s Dozen; Malini Adapureddy, Founder and CEO, Deconstruct; Aditya Ruia, Co-founder, Beco; and Amit Kumar Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO, NoBroker.

“Brands are built in the consumers’ mind and not just with your products or communication. You need to have a consistent, unified approach in terms of what you are really trying to communicate and solve for the customer,” said Aditya.

“The product may not be better but it needs to be different,” he added. The idea must be to build a brand that can offer some sort of distinctiveness or uniqueness in the customer’s mind that they can remember.

In line with Aditya’s point, Malini stated, “A brand is basically about what consumers are taking away. Especially when the major market is moving from unorganised to organised, a brand means consistency for the consumer.” She also pointed out that emotional connection can be difficult to achieve, but it is important to ensure. It could be through storytelling, or some sort of a value which you are offering and your competition is not.

Sneh hinted that it’s difficult for low-involvement brands because consumers often tend to establish sub-conscious relationships with a brand they have used over years. For instance, going to a grocery store and stopping for a second to check an unfamiliar brand or going with the same choice you have had for years is subject to be affected by the manner in which a brand has connected with you through the story or various mediums.

Amit broke the brand building process into two components—fixed and variable. In fixed, one needs to be adamant in a singular message being shared across. Citing an example, he said, “Over the last eight years, we now have a customer base of 2 crore and now every year we are adding 72 lakh new customers. This means that the customer base has become diverse and increased in number, and we have ourselves diversified other services. So, how do we keep the fixed message of no brokerage, while also shedding light on other things that we are doing which have the same basic sense of customer convenience, cost arbitrage and quality?” And the latter is where the variable steps in.

According to Arshya, the distinction lies in innovation. In brand building, innovation is also crucial to maintaining a brand’s relevance in a particular period of time. A brand’s popularity results from innovation, and a brand must focus on four areas –listen to customers today and tomorrow, stay on top of market trends, invest in innovation and technology, and take risks and innovate.

Brand building in Aditya’s opinion involves understanding the relevance of the category a company is in and constantly innovating to deliver an extraordinary experience.

Malini also explained that differentiated positioning is also important, it involves listening very intently to your consumers, positioning yourself very sharply through that, and understanding that changing needs are where innovation comes into play. She also stressed that “change is the only constant”. A brand should also understand the changing needs of consumers, as they have not changed, but have evolved.

Arshya in her closing thoughts pointed out that innovation is also driven by the right kind of people in the organisation, and that Lowe’s, when hiring, looks for attributes like “obsession with customer focus, showing courage, taking action, delivering results, and always learning”. Through these attributes, an innovation mindset can be enabled and fostered across all levels of seniority.

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